Volume 32 Number 79
                 Produced: Mon Jul  3 20:19:43 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

2 possible cases of stealing
         [Daniel M Wells]
Body Piercing
         [Isaac Rochwerger]
Candle Alternatives
         [Ilana Baker]
Candle caused fires, rachmuneh L'tzlan
         [Weintraub, David]
Circumcising a non-Jew--the Royal Moyal
         [Robert Tolchin]
Gas Ovens & Responsibility
         [Eric Jaron Stieglitz]
Kosher in Spain
         [Yisrael Medad]
Kosher L'mehadrin
         [Danny Skaist]
Kosher l'mihadrin
         [Gershon Dubin]
Kosher meals on Aeroflot
         [Daniel Israel]
Moyled before rosh chodesh bentshn
         [Carl Singer]
         [Carl Singer]
The Style of the Mesorah
         [Russell Hendel]
         [Yisrael Medad]


From: Daniel M Wells <wells@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Jul 2000 10:56:28 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: 2 possible cases of stealing

Jonathan quite rightly indicates that not all 'taking advantage of' can
be considered stealing under civil law.

Recently there have been a spate of articles such as the 'call collect
game', 'laundromat quarters','reserved parking', 'copywrite
reproduction' and 'computer program licenses' especially in regards to

It would be interesting to hear from someone well versed in halacha what
actually constitutes theft in halacha and especially if a seller (and
not a borrower) can impose on a buyer conditional usage ie if licensing
laws have a validity in halacha.



From: Isaac Rochwerger <jokeran@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Jul 2000 22:43:02 +1000
Subject: Body Piercing

Does anyone know if there are any Halachic prohibitions on body
piercing? I have tried to find in the Shulchan Aruch, the only point I
could think of was that it is forbidden to injure oneself. If that is
the case then ear piercing should be forbidden. If it is forbidden
because of following Gentile customs, then shouldn't we dress in
anything that is not"fashionable". In Bereshit it mentions that Eliezer
gave gifts to Rivkah including noserings, that seems to show that it is
not unkown in our tradition.

Isaac Rochwerger 

[A quick check on "piercing" on the list archives indicate that we
discussed this topic in volume 10, but the main focus was why was
ear-piercing for earrings permitted. Mod.]


From: Ilana Baker <bakeri@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Jul 2000 22:13:27 +1000
Subject: Candle Alternatives

I have been using the glass cups with candles for many years.  It is
true that if you do not remove the little metal disc before placing in a
new candle, the glass will crack.  Maybe having 2 metal discs creates
too much heat?  If you place a little water in the glass cup before
putting in the candle, the metal disc does not get stuck to the bottom,
making it easy to remove and avoiding the problem of having more than 1
disc in the glass cup.

Good luck,


From: Weintraub, David <Dave.Weintraub@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 12:28:51 -0400
Subject: RE: Candle caused fires, rachmuneh L'tzlan

From: Ruthie Karlinsky <isaiah@...> 
> Regarding candles causing fires - may I suggest the custom of using 
> olive oil instead of candles - it's much safer, and more 'mehudar' as 
> well.  In the many years that I have lit with oil I never had melt-down, 
> cracked glass cups, fallen candles, or danger of fire (B"AH).  It also 
> looks beautiful. 


We lost our house to a fire by using olive oil with little floating
corks with waxed wicks; if you do not put water at the bottom of the oil
bowl, then there is a danger of the wick "popping-out" of the bowl when
the oil level gets very low.

We now use the paraffin-filled glass "candles" with fiberglass wicks.
When we *do* use oil (chanukah), we use metal wick holders.

Dave (and Malka) Weintraub


From: Robert Tolchin <tolchin@...>
Date: Wed, 31 May 2000 12:22:36 -0400
Subject: Circumcising a non-Jew--the Royal Moyal

I did a quick LEXIS search and found an article from a 1992 San
Francisco Chronicle which refers to the circumcision of English nobility
as being done by a Mohel since the time of Queen Victoria, except for
Prince Charles.

--Bob Tolchin


From: Eric Jaron Stieglitz <ephraim@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 11:14:17 -0400
Subject: Re: Gas Ovens & Responsibility

Daniel M Wells <wells@...> wrote on mail-jewish:

  > The SA talks about extinguishing fires. Only if there is an *immediate*
  > possibility of someone getting injured is one allowed to extinguish a
  > fire.  In ALL other cases it better for the property to go up in flames
  > than to be mehallel shabbos.

  Please provide sources for this statement.

  While perhaps it might be preferable for one's own property to go up
in flames rather than be mechallel shabbos, I cannot imagine this being
applied today.

  At least in the neighborhoods I've lived in, if a single house goes up
in flames this puts many other houses (and people, as a result) in
danger. This would most certainly be a case of both pikuach nefesh *and*
chillul hashem. Can you imagine the response from non-Jewish (or even
Jewish) neighbors when they discover that they could have been killed
because of a "shomer" shabbos Jew?

  Any gas leak in a house represents an immediate danger which should be
shut off using the quickest and safest method possible.



From: Yisrael Medad <yisraelm@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 13:51:04 +0300
Subject: Re: Kosher in Spain

>From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
>Does anyone know if there is a Jewish community in Seville, Spain, and
>whether kosher food is available?
>If there is no kosher bakery in Seville, are any of the breads baked in
>the non-Jewish bakeries permitted?

I was last in Spain (Madrid) in 1991 and then, we depended on the Chabad
Shaliach.  I do know that bread was fairly complicated and the meat was
shechted under his auspices.  Rabbi Brener from Caracas was last month
in Barcelona for a European Conference so maybe if someone can reach
him, he'd be a possible source.  Specifically Seville, I don't know.


From: Danny Skaist <danny@...>
Subject: Kosher L'mehadrin

<<well. The Gemara (Eruvin 6,13) long ago told us that though both the schools
of Hillel and Shammi are valid, the law is accordance with Hillel -
nonetheless, one is permitted to follow Shammi across the board in leniency
and stringency. Likewise to follow Hillel consistently is valid, but to
choose the lenient opinions of both in the words of the Talmud is wicked,
while the person who seeks all the stringencies is a fool. >>

The definitation of "kosher l"mihadrin" is that it seeks all
stringencies.  I am glad you said it and not me.  As for ALL
leniencies. There are heterim for sturgon, swordfish, whiskey (grain) on
pessach and dozens of others that have gone by the wayside because most
poskim disagreed, But some persist.

<< I am not advocating blind adherence to any and all chumrot. But this is
not simply an issue of chumra it is a point of law where most contemporary
poskim feel an item is not kosher, Most Poskim disagreed with Rav haim Ozer,
am I allowed to embrace his opinion simply for convenience? >>

When the Alter Rebbe gave a heter on his "thin" slaughtering knife, it
was rejected by most poskim. The major complaint against hasidim, in the
early days, was that they ate actual trayfe.However since more and more
people followed the minority, it became the majority , until today the
original knife has disappeared from use.

Most poskim prohibited the black satin scull cap because it is flat.  R
Moshe, the Hafetz Haim and other gedolim (see the pictures ) and even
yeshiva bachurim in the 30's wore the high kippot.  The kippot of mea
shearim have a pom-pom on the top which keeps it from being flat.  What
happened ?  How could the Yeshiva people, ignore the issur and adopt
this ??



From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 17:27:12 -0400
Subject: Kosher l'mihadrin

From: Danny Skaist <danny@...>
<<It must be in fact like kosher vs. glatt kosher.  Does anbody believe
that kosher (non-glatt) is not considered kosher, or is even considered
questionable-kosher ??  (even among those who only eat glatt)>>

Yes, anyone involved in kashrus.  It is not because glatt is kosher and
kosher is not, ***lehalacha****, but that the facts on the ground are
that the nonglatt kosher sources are simply not as carefully

<<What you would tell R Chaim Ozer is that you didn't even use the heter
of the Rama. >>

I would say that the Rama's heter, which I am NOT beholden to follow in
any event, is predicated on the assumption that all things being equal
(=equally kosher in all other ways), glatt is not necessary.  Not wrong,
not overly frum, but not necessary.

	And that in America in 2000, all things are not equal.



From: Daniel Israel <daniel@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 14:36:01 -0700 (MST)
Subject: Re: Kosher meals on Aeroflot

I don't mean to scare you if you have already purchased your tickets,
but I feel obligated to warn you to that last I heard Aeroflot had a
terrible saftey record and many travel organizations were warning
against flying Aeroflot.

Daniel M. Israel
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 07:08:04 EDT
Subject: Re: Moyled before rosh chodesh bentshn

<< In fact the minhog is NOT to announce the moyled if has already
happened. It seems that some announcers feel at a loose end and
therefore announce it even though it has already happened, which is

Strictly speaking, it is never necessary to ANNOUNCE the moyled. The
requirement is to KNOW when the moyled will occur. For convenience, most
shuls make a verbal announcement.  >>

I would suggest that instead of saying "the minhog" one should say "a
minhog" -- or "my / our minhog" or "my shule's minhog" or "my
community's minhog" --- that's what makes it minhog.

Good Shabbos

Carl Singer


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 06:59:09 EDT
Subject: Re: Ratner's

<<  A recent posting on the closing of Ratner's restaurant deserves some 
comment. >>

I agree that "tragedy" is at best a schvach attempt at humor.  And with
their enthusiastic supporter living in Chicago (how could anyone live /
relocate more than 2 blocks from their favorite restuarant) I can now
understand why they "closed."  I never ate at Ratner's even though I've
lived in NJ for over a decade, no specific reason -- just not my cup of
borsht.  -- I hope I didn't contribute to their decision to no longer
stay kosher.

But seriously, a friend of ours who works for the Chof-K called us that
week to see if one of my (adult) sons could be mashgiach there on their
last kosher night (motzei Shabbos.)  Good pay, car service home, etc. --
They took the job of supervision quite seriously down to the very end.

Kol Tov
Carl Singer


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2000 23:00:32 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: The Style of the Mesorah

I would like to answer 2 arguments made by Ben Katz in mj-v32n33
about the Mesorah.

First Ben states that "The idea (I had cited 5 rishonim for this) that
the Biblical text wasn't changed but rather that the Sages enumerated
texts that LOOK as if they should read otherwise, this idea, is the
standard apolegetic response--the truth is that these text were too
anthromorphic and hence they were changed..."

Actually ANTHROPOMORPHISM could not be the reason for the change since
the Bible abounds with literally 100s of anthropomorphic statements
about God which have not been changed (eg "God was upset", "I have
changed my mind about the creation of man", "If people will be shocked I
(God) too will be shocked"). Indeed compare the Talmudic statement "And
now leave me alone (Said by God to Moses) and I will destroy them (Said
after the sin of the Golden calf)". The Talmud says that Moses grabbed
God by the collar and refused to let him go till God forgave them. Thus
I don't see how ANTHROMORPHISM could be a reason for this alleged

More importantly Ben cites numerous texts that seem to explicitly say
that the Sages changed the text of the Bible in these 18 cases. What Ben
SUGGESTS VARIANT READINGS. Once one realizes this it becomes apparent
that the strong language arguments that Ben uses are not relevant.Let me
give a simple example.

For example on Ex16-34 it says "As God commanded TO Moses". But The
normal phrase for commands in the Bible is "As God commanded ETH Moses"
To avoid the possible error that a scribe would change the word "TO", a
typical Mesorah would say on this verse "NO(Les)" or "SOME THINK ETH
(svirin eth)" These mean as follows: "NO"="NO OTHER EXCEPTION (But this
one is an exception)"; similarly "SOME THINK ETH" means "YOU MIGHT THINK
IT SHOULD SAY ETH BUT THIS IS WRONG". The fact that these are the
correct interpretations can be inferred from the numerous verses on
which such mesorahs occur.

I could go on and give lists but the main point is that the mesorah has
adopted a very terse shorthand for indicating verses WHICH YOU MIGHT
THINK HAD AN ERROR CREPT IN. Since this style is normal for the mesorah
it would follow that no inference can be drawn from the language the
mesorah used (eg "the fixings of the scribes"). In fact that is why the
Minchat Shai brought down the half dozen authorities who state that no
one ever changed the Biblical text.

Hope this clarifies this
Russell Jay Hendel;Phd ASA
<RHendel@...>; Math Towson
Moderator Rashi is SImple


From: Yisrael Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 17:58:54 +0300
Subject: Re: Tehillim

>From: Cheryl Hall <hallcheryl@...>
>I have been davening from the Rinat Israel siddur for many years. In the
>Hebrew text, the kamatz katan is printed larger and bolder than a
>kamatz.  Is anyone on the list aware of a Tehillim that uses the same or
>similiar convention to identify these? I would really like to be
>"saying" Tehillim right, even while I'm trying to master Hebrew dikduk.

If you look at the last page of Shlomo Tal's introduction, he sets out
the vowelization guide.


End of Volume 32 Issue 79